Cutting-edge Research and a virtual Photonics Escape Room

Cutting-edge Research and a virtual Photonics Escape Room

The Max Planck School of Photonics wins the Research in Germany Community Prize

The Max Planck Schools of Photonics is one of the six winners of the "Community Prize" of the initiative "Research in Germany" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With its creative idea of a "Photonics Escape Room", the Max Planck Schools of Photonics successfully competed against its opponents and won the prize money of 20.000 Euro for the implementation of this unique proposal.  


About the Research in Germany Community Prize

The BMBF initiative "Research in Germany" has set itself the task of supporting German universities and research institutions in their international research marketing - in other words, helping them to raise the international profile of top-level German research. To stimulate creative ideas, the "Community Prize" was awarded for the first time this year - an idea contest designed to combine cooperation and competition. To enter the competition, an innovative marketing idea had to be presented in a three-minute video pitch. Marketing managers from other research institutions decided which of the submitted entries would win the prize money of 20.000 Euro via online voting between Nov. 15 and 26, 2021. This was intended to strengthen the network and promote exchange.


Max Planck School of Photonics succeeds with the idea of a Virtual Photonics Escape Room

As one of the three Max Planck Schools, the Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP) also participated in the competition. The MPSP links the best scientists in Germany in the field of Photonics, i.e. light physics. The School's doctoral students conduct research at one of 16 German partner-universities and non-university research institutes in eight different cities. In addition to the Max Planck Society, the central partners of the BMBF-funded School are the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF). Through this unique network, the PhD students have access to the knowledge of more than 45 research groups in many different areas of photonics during their doctoral studies.

The great challenge of the MPSP research marketing is to bring this great diversity of research closer to potential applicants for the graduate program, to their own PhD candidates and students, and to the international Photonics community. Tomorrow's top researchers would prefer to be informed in a playful and entertaining way rather than via classic marketing measures such as brochures and flyers. Therefore, the idea of a virtual "Photonics Escape Room" was developed for the "Community Prize"contest.


Trend game "Escape Room" rethought: virtual and with an educational mission

In so-called "Escape Rooms", the players are "locked" into a room in small teams. They have to solve tricky riddles together in order to escape within a given time. The game is embedded in an exciting story - for example, a murderer must be unmasked or a bomb defused. Due to their enormous popularity, such "Escape Rooms" have existed in every major German city for about five years. In the wake of the Corona pandemic, online variants of this trendy game have now also been established. Here, players communicate via headset while they search for clues in virtual rooms.

The MPSP team has now picked up on this trend for its research marketing idea and wants to bring Photonics fans from all over the world closer to the research of the 16 partner institutions. The riddles thus come directly from the laboratories of the MPSP researchers and the story is designed to introduce the individual MPSP locations. Specifically, the evil scientist Dr. Dark, who is planning an attack on the Nobel Prize ceremony and has locked the players in his physics lab, must be stopped. A first impression of what this could look like is already available in the corresponding video pitch


Realization planned by October 2022

This innovative idea convinced the "Community Prize" jury, and so the Max Planck School of Photonics was able to celebrate a special Christmas present: 20.000 Euro prize money for the implementation of the virtual "Photonics Escape Room". The development of the online game will therefore start in the new year and will then be available online and free of charge to all Photonics fans in the world from October 2022. The PhD students of the MPSP are already looking forward to it and want to actively support the development as test players.


Partner institutions of the Max Planck School of Photonics:

German Electron Synchrotron (DESY)
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)
Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
Georg-August University Göttingen (GAU)
Helmholtz Institute Jena (HI Jena)
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (IPHT)
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU)
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (BPC)
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light (MPL)
Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ)
Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University Aachen (RWTH)
University of Hamburg


Dr. Anna-Katharina Grimm

Marketing Manager Max Planck School of Photonics

Hans-Knöll-Strasse 1, 07745 Jena

Phone: +49 178 2987574



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